If you would have told me that it was fear, I would have told you that you were wrong. I don't think I even realized it until much later. And I had to discover it on my own.
Eight years of homeschooling my kids. Eight years of hearing the same question. Eight years of letting the doubts eat away at my confidence.
I laugh as I type this, because I know how ridiculous the question is. How unfounded. How absurd.
The big question? "What about socialization?"
The question takes so many forms. Sometimes people ask very bluntly and sometimes they are more subtle, but the question remains. Will my kids grow up normal? Will they have any friends? What if they aren't around people other than their family for days on end? How will they be normal? Are you cheating them out of a normal childhood?
I've heard them all. I have answers for all of them. I believe those answers. But last school year, something changed.
It started with youth group. Bubby joined. Then he started playing in the youth band. That took our Sunday night and Wednesday afternoon. You have to practice, you know.
Then co-op. We waited 3 years to get in. Three years! There went Friday morning.
The Bug wanted to get back into gymnastics. We let her. Monday night was gone.
We had the incredible opportunity to participate in a First Lego League. We learned a lot! But there went every Friday afternoon and as compitition grew near, Tuesday or Thursday afternoon too.
Bubby joined the Jr. Drama team at co-op so we added that in on Friday afternoons as well as other practice days for a few weeks before the big performance.
Bug and Leeny played volleyball in the Spring. Practice was Monday and Wednesday and games were Sunday afternoons. That was difficult because volleyball caused us to double up with other activities.
Add to it all orthodontist appointments, chiropractor, doctor visits, dentist, hair cuts, family events, time to "hang out" with friends and the fact that everywhere we go is a 20-40 minute drive. One way.
Our schedule was overflowing. When we were home, we were trying to squeeze in schoolwork, housework, laundry, cooking and outside chores.
You know what I lost? I lost my breathing room. My day was scheduled to the max. I lost the ability to just be. To have friends over to play. Time to just sit and read a book. Time to go on field trips or spend the day at the park. We had to schedule time to play a game or watch a movie!
In gaining so many activities, my kids lost too. They started to argue. They were picking at eachother. They didn't enjoy being together anymore.
And that's when I realized it. I had let "the question" creep in and cause doubt. I was fearful. All those activities were good things, but not when the motive for participation was fear.
So we are simplifying. Cutting back. Creating more breathing room in our schedule. More margin. And in the less, I expect to gain far more.